Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Thing About School

We've been having a bit of a time when it comes to school for the fall.  Mary Grace will turn 5 on August 10.  The cut off date is August 1 for the local public schools. 

She is tall, and smart, and articulate, and self-selects a slightly older peer group when playing with kids in the neighborhood.  She builds robots for fun and uses words like "oscillation."  She has already had two years of preschool.  Her Daddy is a rocket scientist and her Mommy has a fairly high IQ (although I am kind of the poster child for not-achieving-my-full-potential).  We're worried that if she's already 6 when she starts Kindergarten, she'll get bored.  Her current teachers say that she would probably be fine in Kindergarten, but she would also benefit from one more year of preschool.  I'm anxious to see what her evaluations look like in April.

When I called in January, our neighborhood public school said that there were NOT taking any early enrollments, and that they would not be even if I called after Kindergarten Round Up.  Terrific.  They suggested Montessori, but I don't have a spare kidney laying around that I can sell.  Seriously, Montessori, if you're more expensive than my college tuition for Kindergarten, then you lack perspective.  Anyway, we started investigating our options in January.

(Aside:  rather than having a firm cut off date, wouldn't it make a whole lot more sense if they said, "Anyone who turns 5 before June 1 is automatically in, and anyone who was born between June 2 and August 30 needs to test in."?  Duh, public education.  Duh.)

I called the local charter school (which first hit my radar when MG was just a little baby), and they said lots of good things, including "they have to be five by the first day of school," (she will be), and "thematic learning," and "whole child," and "music and art education," and "lots of field trips," and "Spanish instruction from K-8," and, when I asked about homework, "we don't give a whole lot of homework because research doesn't support that it does kids any good..."

Be still my heart.

However, it's not accredited.  And they're housed in the annex building of a church downtown, and while it's an adequate space, there isn't an excess of space or storage so there is a lot of "visual noise."  I found it distracting to be there as an adult.  I would have had a very hard time learning in that environment as a kid.  (I hate bulletin boards.  Visual distractions annoy the snot out of me).  There were open shelves full of boxes of materials, and everything felt extremely crowded...  Like the walls were closing in on me.  I know I'm weird, and MG won't necessarily be weird the same way I'm weird, but it's a concern.  They're building a new building that they'll hopefully be in for fall 2011, but the location they're considering isn't my favorite.  The grocery store that used to be there got robbed a lot.  To be honest, the current location isn't exactly ideal, either.

Our third option is to keep her at her current school (where we've been very happy) for their four day pre-K program. She and Claire would attend in the same building, which would be convenient.  Claire will start in the two day preschool program for 3 year olds in the fall (where did the time go??).

The neighborhood school would be 5 half days.

The charter school would be 5 full days (eek).

I bumped into my friend Casey at preschool drop off on Thursday and she said, knowing what the neighborhood school told me about NO early admissions in January, that there were lots of people at K round up doing early admissions.

And my head flew off.

I marched straight to the school to complain.  The principal was very nice, and she said that they'd had new people start in January, and that I probably spoken to one of them.  She allowed me to fill out the application and assured me that we didn't miss anything.

However, she also strongly discouraged me from enrolling MG in Kindergarten early (even ten days early) because our school district tends to run "a year ahead" according to her.  In other words, the things they're studying in 3rd grade are typically covered in 4th grade elsewhere.  Also, she talked about emotional maturity and social maturity.
I assured her that I had a family full of teachers and former teachers who would tell me if they didn't think MG was ready, and that we had other reasons for wanting MG to start this fall, including, "I already told her that she would be starting Kindergarten this fall, because I thought the cut off dates was September 1, and she's excited about it," and "It would put her two years apart from her sister in school, instead of just one, which I think would be better for both of them..."  Not to mention that we're losing Allison this fall to grad school, so our childcare situation is completely in flux, and knowing where MG will be, and whether it'll be half or full day, will help us figure out what we're going to do.

So as it stands now, our neighborhood school is our first choice, if they have spots and she can test in.  After that, our second choice is the charter school, with the idea that she can do Kindergarten there and then stay, or start first grade at our neighborhood school in 2011, or even do another year of Kindergarten at the neighborhood school in 2011 if we don't feel that she's ready for first grade (the answer which appeased the neighborhood school's principal).  And if we don't get the opportunity to test into the neighborhood school, and we don't lottery in to the charter school, I've still got a space reserved for her in the four day pre-K program at our current school.  Far from being a third choice, though...  Our current school is tied for second.  In fact, if we hadn't told MG that she'd be starting Kindergarten in the fall, I'd probably keep her there.

I'm totally hedging my bets. 

I know it's stupid to feel like the fate of her entire future hinges on this decision - where she attends Kindergarten is not going to make the difference between going to Harvard and working at McDonald's...  But it's hard not to feel a lot of pressure to do the "right" thing.  There really is no "right" answer, and that's hard.

I'll tell you what, if I ever get pregnant in November again I'm going to ask to be induced on July 31, just to avoid this kind of foolishness in the future! 

(Generic picture of a Kindergarten class to break up the constant flow of words words words brought to you by Wikimedia Commons.)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Marly Update

"Marly's" mom died this afternoon.  I'll talk to Mary Grace before she goes back to school on Tuesday, but not today.

If anyone has any suggestions for something I could do for Marly (she's four, she doesn't want a casserole or flowers), keeping in mind that she and MG are friends but I don't know her or her family very well, please let me know.  If you know of a book or something, or if you have an idea for a small gift we could leave in her cubby at school... 

I'm completely at a loss.  All I know is that I'm 33, and I'm not ready to lose my mom.  I can't imagine what it must be like to suffer such a loss when you're four.  Please keep this lovely little girl and her family in your hearts.

Typical Friday at Our House

In Which I Bite Off More Than I Can Chew

I'm tempted to write this update as one run-on sentence, because that's how living it has felt.  I'll spare you, though, and try to use proper grammar and punctuation...

Holy snot I'm tired!  This is the first time I've sat down all day.  I got up this morning and got dressed and moved laundry and vacuumed and ...

Sorry, I said I wouldn't do that...

I finally got the kids out of the house at 9:40 am (impressive for a non-school day) in matching tutus for gymnastics, no less.  I stopped at the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for MG's dry skin on the way, then we hit the gym...

...which was flooded.  Something very very bad happened with the plumbing, and all the drains in the bathrooms had reversed direction.  It was fine for a while...  Then Claire needed to go potty.

Anyone who has ever potty trained anyone knows that when someone Claire's age and size has to go, they mean RIGHT NOW.  Sara was occupied with three classes (one of the teachers had strep, another had a flat tire and was late...) so I went in search of the building's owner.  Instead I found a very nice young man who didn't speak much English.  I was proud of myself for remembering the word "banyo" or however that's spelled, but it didn't do us any good.  Finally I located the owner who explained that the problem was in all the bathrooms in the complex, and that there wasn't one to use anywhere.


I apologized that he was dealing with that, because if there's one thing I've learned about plumbing it's that those who are suffering from plumbing disorders deserve sympathy - there is nothing grosser than backed up sewer lines...  He warmed up quite a bit when he realized that I wasn't going to berate him, and sent the same young man I had tried to communicate with earlier to clean up the bathroom in the gym portion of the complex first so that the kids, who were getting a little desperate by this point, would have one to use.

The odd thing was that the kid understood his English...  Had he just pretended not to understand me?  I guess I'll never know.

After that I helped direct traffic for the last half of Sara's class, which Claire had joined by this point.  She had a lot of kids, and they were crowding each other at the far end of the circuit from where Sara was, so I helped remind them to wait their turn.  I know less than nothing about gymnastics, but I put on my teacher voice and order prevailed.

I spent the hour of open gym chatting with Sara and Casey, while the girlies played.  Then we went to Noodles for lunch with Casey and her kids.  We had planned to go to the library, too, but I was already running out of steam and I knew we needed to go to the grocery store.

I'd like to interject at this point that having two kids, one of whom is quite recently potty trained, dressed in leotards and tights with fleece pullovers and jackets while running all over town is a very bad idea.  I think we've spent at least 45 minutes in public bathrooms today.

We finally made it through the grocery store (only one trip to the bathroom there) and home.  Then I started cooking because we're having friends over for dinner.  I'm currently screwing up the Spanish rice.  The rice was refusing to cook on the stove, so I put it all in a casserole dish and stuck it in the oven where it can stay for the next hour and 15 minutes at 350 - I figure that's the best shot I have at it actually cooking.  I made "No Pudge" brownies and Buffalo Chicken Dip, and when BJ gets home with the taco seasoning that I forgot to get at the store (duh), I'll make the meat and cut up the veggies and warm up the tortillas and beans.

Cooking all afternoon would have been pleasant - I've been listening to Outlander on audiobook - if it weren't for the fact that my darling daughters have spent the entire afternoon fighting.  I swear to God I'm going to put every last one of their Barbie dolls down the garbage disposal.  Could someone please explain to me why we fight over the Sleeping Beauty dolls when there are TWO girls and TWO Sleeping Beauty Barbies?  I just do. not. get. it.

I just realized that I forgot to clean the bathroom.  And all the toys that I made the kids take into the toyroom earlier have migrated back out again.  And I hear someone crying...  Yep, it's been 20 seconds so someone must be mad at someone else.

I need to go back to work so I can rest.  Being a "stay at home" (ha, who stays at home?) mother is EXHAUSTING.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Shallow Humor

Dad came over this afternoon and mentioned that one of the whales at SeaWorld - Orlando (where we were last year, incidentally) had killed a trainer during a show.

The conversation moved on, and Dad said, "Did you know that all whales tails are unique?"

Without missing a beat, I replied, "No, that's just a fluke."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hard Conversations

I received an e-mail from Mary Grace's teacher today.  The mother of one of Mary Grace's classmates (I'll call her Marly, but that isn't her name), is dying of breast cancer.

Me:  Marly is your friend, right?

MG:  Yeah.

Me:  How has she been lately?

MG:  She's sad.

Me:  Can you tell me why?

MG:  Her dad, he brought her and her sisters into her room, and he told them something really sad.

She looked at the floor.

Me:  Do you know what the sad thing was?

MG:  Her Mom.......  I think she died.

My heart breaks.

Me:  No honey, she hasn't died, but she's going to soon.  And that's very sad.

MG:  Marly is sad.  But at least I still have you, Mommy.

She hugs me.  I look up and hope for the right words to come to me, knowing that she doesn't really know what dying means.

Me:  Yes you do.  And I love you so much.  And Marly and her mom love each other, too.  It's very sad, because Marly won't have her mom with her anymore.  So I want you to do something for me.

Ever eager to please, Mary Grace looks at me.  I think she's relieved to have a plan.

Me:  I want you to be extra nice to Marly.  I want you to be a really good friend.  We need to help her, because she's going to be really sad, ok?  It's important that we love her and we take care of her.  You can do that, right?

MG:  Ok, Mommy.

And she hugs me. 

And I e-mail her teacher back, and offer to take a casserole to Marly's family or something, knowing that it's not nearly enough.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Moments To Remember

BJ and Mary Grace are sitting at the kitchen table playing with her LEGO Mindstorms.  Claire and I are sitting at the table too, but doing our own thing.  Mary Grace stops, hugs her Daddy and says, "Thank you Daddy.  I really love doing this with you."

And Mommy cries.

These are the moments that I want to remember.  This is why I'll continue to write.  Your kind comments really helped, so thank you.  I appreciate the time that all of you spend here, encouraging me and laughing with us as we parent these two amazing kids.

My mom suggested in the comments (or was it on Facebook?) that I tell you the potty training story from the other day.  I always hesitate to share potty training stories, because they're inevitably a little gross.  This one isn't too bad, mostly funny.  It's important to know that our bathrooms are on top of each other in our two story house, and you can hear what's going on in the other one through the vent.

So Claire was having a hard time pooping on the potty, as you might know if we're Facebook friends.  She went through a brief phase where she'd go for Mary Grace and she'd go for Daddy, but not for me.  Well, the other day I got tired of waiting, so I sent MG in to help Claire.  I thought she'd read her the potty book that she has memorized, but instead I heard them talk for a few minutes, and then saw MG go up the stairs.  "What in the world...?" I thought.  Then I heard Mary Grace yell downstairs, "Claire!  I'm going poop right now!  Are you going poop too?"  And Claire yells back, "Yeah Mary Grace!  I pooping too!" and they proceeded to poop together. 

I was cracking up!

Only a big sister would think of that, and it would only work on a little sister.  Let's hear it for peer pressure!

Speaking of sisters, I realized the other day that I hadn't taken the girls to Grammaland in eons, so today we ran up for the day and went out for dinner with Uncle Trey and Mimi, and then Mimi, the girlies and I went sledding at the sledding hill where we used to always go when we were kids (Forest Park, for locals).  It was so much fun!  It was right around 32 degrees, maybe a little warmer, so it was slushy at the bottom and Mimi and I both soaked our jeans.  The girlies were so brave.  And according to, I burned 300 calories! 

Life is good.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

February Brings Blahs

I almost ended this blog the other day when I posted about how I no longer have a baby in the house.  I wrote my goodbye and had BJ read it before I chickened out.

Part of the reason I wanted to blog about the kids' lives is because I have a terrible memory (ask anyone), and I wish I had proof that I could go back and read of where I've been and what I've done.  I always wanted to be a journal-keeper, but I never had the self-discipline.

But I don't feel like the kids' stories are mine to tell, anymore.  They have their own voices.  And while they can't yet type, a part of me feels that they have the right to be the authors of their own lives at this point.  I have the responsibility to relinquish that control to them, at some point.  I don't want them to look back and wonder if they turned out a certain way because that's who they truly are, or if it's because I wrote their character a certain way.

And right now I find myself in the middle of the winter blahs - we've been stuck in the house for decades and the kids are sick every 10 minutes (Claire today, puking.  Yay.) and it just doesn't lend itself to scintillating blog fodder.

I've learned that there are only a few paths to becoming a rich/famous/popular/"A-list" blogger.  I won't name names, but basically you have to either 1) do something first, 2) do it better than anyone else, 3) be a social climber willing to use and manipulate people for your own advancement, 4) or have a personal tragedy.  I certainly wasn't the first mommyblogger to come on the scene, there are plenty of writers more talented, I'm unwilling to use people, and I wouldn't wish a personal tragedy on myself or anyone...  So where does that leave me?  Do I even want to be a "big" blogger?  I don't really think so.

I'm honestly not sure where to go, so I turn to you... My audience.  The people I write for.  What do you want to see me do?  What do you come here to read?  To see?  Should I change course?  Keep at it?  Quit altogether?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Nothing that's going on right now is terribly blog-worthy.  We're potty training Claire.  Yuck.  And we're having trouble with the kitchen sink which I could bore you with, but the point is that we need to call a plumber in the morning and I have dirty dishes everywhere.

Blah blah blah.

I was going to do that volunteer thing, but then I found out that they take walk-ins...  from psychotic people... and I would be there overnight... by myself...  Um...  No.

BJ was very cool about it.  "I'm not going to tell you 'no,'" he said, because he's not the kind of husband who tells his wife she can't do things.  But when I ran it by a few friends and they looked at me like I was insane for even considering it?  Yeah.  I quit.

There are much safer volunteer opportunities out there.  Or maybe I'll just get my nails done, or have another baby or something...

In education news, Mary Grace has Wacky Wednesday tomorrow at school (they're learning W and can dress up in wacky ways).  She's going to go as Glinda the good Witch, with a Wand.  Of course.  Claire wants to go to school as "Doorfee" but her class isn't doing W, or D for that matter.

I'll probably let her, anyway.

And around the rest of the family, we had dinner with Grandpa Bob today, lunch with Grandpa Ben and Grandma Nancy yesterday, and lunch with Chuck on Sunday.  Lots of company, which has been fun.  My nephew, Alex, who is four months old was briefly hospitalized for RSV, but he's home now and doing better. 

When your blog posts start sounding more like Christmas newsletters, it's time to just go to bed already.  I hope you're having a blog-worthy week!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

10 Easy Things You Can Swap to Lose Weight

10.  Get thin crust pizza instead of thick - save 100 - 150 calories a slice!

9.  Buy "light" bread.  Aunt Millie's Whole Wheat Light bread is 35 calories a slice - versus 80 calories per slice in Wonder Bread (not to mention that white flour affects your body the same way sugar does).  So just by switching to light bread, you can save around 100 calories per sandwich. 

8.  Drink water instead of sweetened soda, tea, or coffee.  Save diet beverages for special occasions (like pizza night!) because they wreak havoc on your kidneys, among other things.

7.  Drink your coffee black instead of with creamer - even the fat free Coffee Mate that we love is 25 calories per tablespoon (and who uses just one?).  I can drink the office coffee black, but I need to work on tolerating the coffee at home black.  I'll get there.  Maybe we need to start buying better coffee!

6.  Snack on fruit instead of "100 calorie" packs - feel fuller and get better nutrition!  An apple has 80 calories, but will help you stay away from snacks until dinner.  I don't know about you, but those 100 calorie packs of cookies and stuff just make me want more cookies.

5.  Make yourself eggs (scrambled or omelets) in the morning, but use one whole egg and one egg white.  Save yourself 70 calories.  I promise you won't miss the second yolk.

4.  Replace oil in recipes with applesauce - not only does it taste great (my banana muffins with applesauce instead of oil are to die for!) but you're getting better nutrition from half a cup of applesauce than you are from half a cup of oil.  Make sure it's unsweetened applesauce, by the way.

3.  I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray is awesome on vegetables, toast, and popcorn.  It's essentially zero calories, while a tablespoon of butter is 100.  No contest there.

2.  Hellmann's Light Mayo tastes exactly the same as their regular mayo.  No, really, I did a taste test.

1.  Frozen yogurt or Edy's Light Ice Cream - some of it is even better than the real thing.  I just had Edy's light Samoas ice cream.  YUM!  And if you watch your portion size, there's no reason why you can't enjoy a treat every now and then.

Friday, February 12, 2010

No More Babies

It has been over a year since I nursed a baby.

No one sleeps in a crib in our house, anymore.

And, except for nighttime, no one wears diapers anymore, either.

I don't have a baby in the house, for the first time since August, 2005, and it feels so weird.

If I could go back and talk to Amy the New Mom, I would tell her so many things -

Don't worry so much about the details, they'll work out.  The sink will not always be full of dishes and the house won't always be a mess.  And if it is, it doesn't matter, anyway.  The only person who cares is you.  All of the things you think are so important - what the baby eats, where she sleeps, all the things you worry over - they're not that big a deal.  Just relax and do whatever feels right to you and your husband.  

You won't always have to be with them every second of every day.  You will sleep again, and once you do the sleep deprivation won't seem so bad.  It won't always be this hard.  There will be moments when it's really great - probably more than your fair share - so quit your bitching and just go with it, already.  You're doing fine.   You're not as bad at this as you think you are.  Your babies are going to turn into great kids.  And this baby stuff, it's only a short season in your life, in their lives, so try to enjoy the snuggles and having them all to yourself, instead of feeling stuck and resenting that they need you so much.  It goes so fast, and believe it or not, you're going to miss it when it's gone.

In other words, I would say everything that other people said - all the things that annoyed the crap out of me when I was in the midst of it.  But seriously, if you're a new mom and you're reading this, and you are overwhelmed and you think that motherhood is just endless work, and you're wondering what you've gotten yourself into - know that all the stuff that people say that annoys you, about how you'll miss it someday, all of it's true.  Sorry.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In Which I Realize that I Still Have a Blog

Is it Wednesday already?

We're potty training.  That has eaten up a lot of time since Saturday.  She's halfway there, but she still refuses to "take the kids to the pool," if you know what I mean.  I have done a lot of laundry.  *sigh*

This is the worst part, the ABSOLUTE WORST PART of parenting for me.  I can deal with labor, I can deal with breastfeeding, I can deal with being puked on, I can deal with tantrums, but I have a really hard time with excrement.  Puke is one thing - they can't help it, and they usually feel so awful that my "poor baby" instincts override my "eeeewwww!" instincts.  But with potty stuff?  No.  Not even a little.

And for whatever reason (probably high tech additives in Pampers that mask smells) changing diapers isn't as bad as changing pants. 


So if you have any suggestions for how to get her to... you know... in the potty...  Let me know.  I've tried bribery.  I've tried modeling.  *sigh*

In other news, it snowed here, but not as much as they expected.  Instead of doing the elliptical today, we're going to go outside and I'm going to shovel while the kids play.  We'll see how long that lasts.

School has been canceled the last two days.  Tomorrow is the class Valentine's day party, and MG is going to be crushed if school is called off again, so I hope the weather knocks it off.  I'm ready for spring, anyway.  This is ridiculous.

I always say that, and then I remember that spring is muddy, and I end up dealing with a lot of giant muddy dog footprints in my house.  I'm ready for summer, I guess.

I spent a long time yesterday cleaning out closets and rearranging some of the stored baby clothes (no, that is not a pregnancy announcement).  Now I have room to go shopping for new clothes that actually fit.  I mentioned on Facebook that I'm totally intimidated by the idea of shopping for new clothes.  I haven't figured out why, but it's probably residual shopping trauma brought on by years of being overweight.  Going through the clothes, everything in my closet - even the dress pants that I'd kept in spite of the fact that they were too small - fit or was too big.  Yay.  I have several garbage bags full of clothes to take to Goodwill.  If you want to go through them before I do, and you're local, let me know!

My cousins have been most entertaining lately.  My cousin Brian is writing for a republican blog.  This gives us all sorts of things to talk about!  My cousin Tim is the lead in a play called The Pillowman that is getting rave reviews.  If you're in Grammaland and you want to see it, it's at the CST downtown.  You can e-mail me for details.  (I'm deliberately leaving them out for privacy's sake).  I wish I could make it up there to see it, but with this weather, I don't think I'll be able to make it. 

I've started the class to train for the volunteer opportunity I mentioned last fall when I got all honked off about politics.  It's two four hour classes per week for a month.  That's a huge time commitment, but there's a lot to learn.  I have to say, it feels good to be learning again!  I feel like my brain has been atrophying for a while, now.  And this is a sort of volunteering that I did before, when I lived in Indy in 1998, so it's mostly review.  We'll see if I can handle it.  I don't know...

I'm being deliberately vague again.  Sorry.  Faithful readers and people who know me in real life will know what I'm talking about, which is what I intend.  I'm not allowed to talk about it.  It wouldn't be good to blog about it, and then get fired for blogging about it before I even start.

Anyway, I hope you're enjoying your snow day!  I guess it's time to get dressed and go work out shovel.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Daddy is so much fun!

Building Robots

I'm a little pissed at the Today Show

So did anyone else catch the birth on the Today show last week?  I never watch the Today show anymore, or any TV news for that matter, because it's just depressing and BJ will tell me if there's anything important going on, and if there is I'll go read about it.  I don't need talking heads to tell me what I should think about whatever's happening...  That's not news, it's commentary, but I digress.

I was getting dressed and I could not take one more minute of the Disney channel or the related music that has spun off of the same, so I turned on NBC and Meredith Viera was talking about how excited she was that the Today was about to show a birth on TV.

Obviously that got my attention, having done birth personally I know that I would deck anyone who came within a mile of me with a video camera during labor, so I sat down to see if the mom broke the cameraman's nose.

It turned out to be a C-section.

Now I need to derail a minute, here, because I know there are a lot of sanctimommies in the world - the kind who think that motherhood comes with some kind of point system, and that if they choose, say, natural unmedicated childbirth over a C-section, they're automatically somehow a more superior mother than someone who, for whatever reason, had a C-section.

I am not this kind of mommy.  There are no points, and the measure of a mother is not in how she gave birth.  Period.  There are some really miserable mothers who have given birth without drugs, and there are plenty of phenomenal mothers who have had C-sections, induced births, epidurals, etc.  It SO doesn't matter.

I'm proud of the fact that I gave birth naturally in the same way that someone who ran a marathon is proud of themselves for accomplishing that - it was something that was hard and painful that not everyone tries to do, and even those who try often don't succeed.  But I am not a better mother than you are if you had a c-section, any more than you're a better mother than I am if you've run a marathon.  Kapiche?

I do, however, have a problem with the fact that about 34% of births in this country are C-sections.


Because I think that a lot of those C's are done for stupid reasons.  (Here's a good article about it, if you want to skip my ranting and read something rational and reasonable with numbers and facts...  But I know you come here for the rants and the pictures, so buckle up, here we go...) 

I think if doctors would just get out of the way of birth and let it happen, if they would allow women to labor in a more natural position than on our backs (we're on our backs because it's convenient for the doctor to get a good look at what's going on, by the way, not because it's efficient), if they would be patient and not get all antsy if things take, oh, longer than 24 hours from the time the water breaks, if they would stop saying things like, "Oh we'd better schedule a C because this baby is huge..." and so on and so on, we could bring that number (34%) down.  Way down.  In other developed countries it's more like 10%.  (And I'm not even going to calculate what all those C-sections are doing to the cost of health care in this country, but I think we can all agree that it is a LOT cheaper to give birth vaginally than it is to give birth in an operating room).

I think it's important to get that number down, not because I think that all women everywhere should have crunchy granola unmedicated childbirth with Zamfir Master of the Pan Flute playing liltingly in the background while everyone sings Kum-bye-ah...  but because I think that interventions (pitocin, breaking amniotic sacs manually, c-sections, epidurals, etc. etc.) have CONSEQUENCES that are non-trivial for mothers and babies....  Consequences that are glossed over.  Consequences that were glossed over on the Today show, too.

Any time you tell someone "no" when you're pregnant or in labor, they threaten you with a dead baby.  When I was on bedrest with MG, I asked the nurse who came to the house to take my blood pressure if I could go up and down the stairs more than once a day, and she literally said to me, "Sure, you can do whatever you want, if you want to kill your baby!"  (Talk about someone who deserved her nose broken...).  But in the same culture where we tell mothers that they can't eat COLD CUTS without dire consequences for their unborn children, we seem to think nothing about cutting them open to get those same unborn children out.

Doesn't anyone else think that's a little bit screwed up?

Back to the Today show...  Oh hey, there's video!

Ok, first of all, if you were that mother wouldn't you be screaming, "Shut up, who do you think you are, Sanjay Gupta?"  Forget the camera man, I would've broken the nose of the chatty doctor.  I don't understand why they couldn't have had her in the studio with Meredith instead of in the operating room annoying the parents, but whatever...

I thought it was interesting the way the doctor was constantly assuring everyone that things were "orderly," "routine," "normal protocol," and "scheduled." As opposed to vaginal birth?  Where things are unpredictable and messy and (generally) unscheduled?

Ok, then they start talking about all the different reasons for c-sections, and they get to my favorite one, "Baby's too big."

My friend Karen was told her baby was going to be "huge," and he weighed less than 7 pounds.  They don't know.  The measuring techniques are extremely inaccurate in late pregnancy.

I guess this mother was a big baby and so was her husband, and they decided to schedule a c-section.  Now, it goes against my personal editorial policy to question the medical decision of one individual mother, so I'm not going to debate whether or not this mother really should have had a c-section for a suspected big baby - that is a decision that is totally between her and her doctor and it is SO not my call.  But I know plenty of people who have delivered 10 pounders vaginally and lived to tell about it.  If you're pregnant and you're being told that you have to schedule a C because your baby is too big, it is my opinion that you should get a second opinion.  Of course, you're probably going to be told that you're going to kill your baby...  but they'll tell you that for eating tuna fish, too, so tell them I said to piss off.

I love how Meredith, medical expert that she is, says, "Clearly Mom made the right decision, scheduling a c-section..." when she's told how much the baby weighs...  That quote is inexact because I've somehow killed the sound on my computer, but I remember getting all fired up about it several days ago when I saw this originally, and it's close enough.

It just annoys the crap out of me that the Today show is going so far to normalize surgical childbirth...  It seems to me that if 30+% of births are already C's, it's pretty normal.  I've heard anecdotally that a lot of labor and delivery nurses have never seen an unmedicated natural childbirth, because they've become so rare.  Maybe, considering the complications that are possible in any surgery (much less one with two patients!), we should be trying to normalize the old fashioned sort of birth.

I know my next birth is going to be induced (Claire's was, too, and I did it unmedicated after that - unless you count the Tylenol they gave me for the headache I got from pregnancy-induced-hypertension) because I would never make it to the hospital if I waited until I went into labor naturally - I have extremely fast labors.  Scary fast.  Maybe the Today show should send a camera crew, and they can normalize natural childbirth a little.  I would love the opportunity to show other women that it IS possible and you CAN do it (believing that is half the battle, actually).  I'd love the opportunity to show women that natural childbirth isn't anything like what you see in movies - it's not all screaming and "You'll never touch me again!" and bumbling doctors and fainting husbands. 

I promise I'll try not to break the cameraman's nose.

PS - I fully believe that C-sections should be available to those who truly need them in emergency situations.  A very old friend of mine just had an emergency C-section, actually, and both she and baby are doing fine, thank goodness.  Edited to add:  The FRIEND's not old, but I've known her forever.  She's only 29.  LOL

Saturday, February 6, 2010

So BJ fixed my computer in 24 hours and I'm drunk

Those things don't actually have anything to do with each other, they're just both what's going on right now.  I went to a funeral today.  I know, right?  So I got some wine.  But unless I'm going to introduce the kids into the joy of vino WAY too early, I'm the only drinker in this house...

...and I can't let it go to waste, right?  It's a $10 bottle of ....  Hot Pot?  No.  Big Dog?  No...  Mod Squad?  Shit.  I'd better get up and check the name.  And while I'm there, I should probably get more....


HOB NOB Pinot Noir, on sale at Marsh for $9.99.  WOO HOO!  Little did I know when I bought and then drank the wine that BJ had a meeting tonight, which means that I am in charge of keeping two preschoolers breathing, one of whom is potty training, and I am not in any condition to drive anyone to the hospital if they choke, or give anyone the Heimlich maneuver (although, I suppose I can't... See More be too far gone if I can still spell "Heimlich maneuver" correctly, and with correct capitalization, without spell check), or be a responsible adult in any capacity.

I'm not going to let anyone eat or get off of the couch until he gets home in 90 minutes. I think that's the only answer. I put on Alvin and the Chipmunks, so maybe they won't notice their confinement.

No one call CPS, ok? 

Ok, I just totally copied that from my Facebook status, but it would have been a LOT of work to type out, so hush.

Seymore who?

I have a GREAT rant about C-sections and the Today show percolating in the "saved but unpublished" file, but Jenny ... shit, links are hard.  JENNY started chatting me and being hilarious in the middle of my writing it last night which made it totally hard to finish.  But it's coming, because I am SO PISSED at Meredith Viera about...  Something.  Something involving surgery.  I need more wine.


So I just realized that we're potty training Claire and she hasn't gone since before dinner, so I said, "Claire, do you need to go potty?" and she said, "Yep!" so I took her.  And after she did what was needed, I picked her up to give her a kiss and tell her what a big girl she is, and she smelled my wine breath and I SWEAR TO GOD THIS IS TRUE, she said, "You're just like Gramma!" at which point I laughed so hard I almost peed myself, which is not at all the kind of example I'm trying to set here, and put her down before I dropped her funny little ass.

Gramma Denna, for those of you who don't know her, likes her wine.  HAHHAhahhaha...

N.E. Way.  I have nothing to report other than that there's a good rant coming, but I'm too mellow right now to write the ending, which is the most important part, so you're going to have to wait.  It occurs to me that the mark of a good writer (pay no attention to the fact that I misspelled "writer" four times) is that they save stuff to edit and publish later.  I'm not just a trigger happy Jack hitting publish when I get to 1000 words.

Most of the time...

I need a nap. 

Is it bedtime yet?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Darndest Things

On the way home in the car, Mary Grace said, "I told all my friends at school that Claire has an ear confection."

Monday, February 1, 2010

Product Recommendations!

If you know me in real life, you know that I've been walking around like a plumber for about a month now. ALL of my pants are falling down.  Even my formerly-tight ones!


I know a lot of you are on this journey with me, so when I found and tried this product (which I bought with my own money, no one is compensating me in any way to write this, except Amazon Associates if you decide to buy it via this link - I think I get 75 cents or something) I knew I had to share it with you.

Behold, the ADJUST-a-BUTTON!

This is one of those products that I look at and think, "Duh! Why didn't I think of that??" It's a button on a lapel pin. If you've lost weight and you need to tighten up your pants (so you're not lookin' like a fool, right?), all you do is stick the pin through the waist of your jeans a couple inches past where the button is sewn, and then you button the button hole through the button on a pin, rather than the button that's already there.


I'm hoping that with this product I can buy every-other-size of pants, rather than every size, on the way down. Thus saving myself lots of money.

Money that I can spend on cute tops, instead.

Speaking of tops, have you tried VitaTops?  HungryGirl swears by them, but I was skeptical (mainly because of the name, who wants to eat something that tastes like vitamins?).  I tried them yesterday, and YUM.

They're only 100 calories, and there's a lot of good fiber and vitamins and stuff going on in there.  I got mine at the grocery store for about $1 each, but you can buy them from Amazon for a bit more and get them shipped straight to your door.  Note that you have to keep them in the freezer, because they don't contain any preservatives, so before you go and buy a case, make sure you have the freezer space to deal with them, ok?  I got the "deep chocolate" that I linked to, there, but there are lots and lots of flavors.  Try them and let me know which you like.  (FYI, Kroger carries the Deep Chocolate and the Corn Muffin flavors).

Speaking of corn meal, I made mush for my kids for breakfast the other day, because Claire is obsessed with Goodnight Moon ("Goodnight nobody, goodnight mush...").  They didn't love it.  It was super easy, though.  All you do is mix 1/2 cup of corn meal with 2 cups of water, and stir it and stir it on the stove until it thickens.  It looks and tastes kind of like cream of wheat.  Like I said, my kids didn't love it, but it was kind of fun anyway.  I like to "cook the book."  When Mary Grace was obsessed with Peter Rabbit (I must have read that book 1000 times) she really got into having chamomile tea for snack.

One last thing, speaking of corn, have you seen Food, Inc.?  Oh.  My.  God.  It made me feel really good about our decision to feed our kids organic milk (Horizon, usually) and organic beef (that we get from BJ's uncle, who is a farmer south of here).  I'm currently shopping for an organic pork farmer - the farmer's market starts in April, and I'm 85% sure I remember a pork farmer being there.  I have a source for "happy chickens" (coincidentally it's the same person I get happy popcorn from, and it's way better than grocery store popcorn.  Please don't eat the microwave stuff with any sort of frequency.  The yellow dye in the butter will kill you.  Besides, it's super easy to make real popcorn on the stove and it tastes a zillion times better).  Anyway, jeez, ramble much Amy?

Food Inc. is about the way our food is made in the U.S., and all the things that are wrong with that system.  I really think that we all need to think more critically about what we're eating, and why we're eating it, and what we can do to make healthier, more sustainable choices.  You know this is something I've been thinking about a lot, lately, because I wrote this not too long ago.

If you have Netflix you can download Food Inc. and watch it for free.  It's also available on-demand from Amazon for a couple bucks  - click here -  Food Inc.  Did you see Oprah talking about this last week?  She had Alicia Silverstone on, who is my age and still looks 17 so she must be doing something right, along with Michael Pollan and they talked very carefully about food (because Oprah got sued a few years ago by the beef industry for saying, "I'm not eating hamburger anymore..."  Crazy!  Isn't this America??). 

Anyway, it was very thought provoking, and I challenge all of you to see it, and tell me what you think!

That is enough rambling for today.  Go forth and shop!!  Let me know what you think if you try (or have tried) any of this stuff.